Cultural Delicacies of Southeast Asia (and, Will I Have the Balls to Try Them?)

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As I started my blog in September 2013 and only became vegan in May 2016, there are several non-vegan posts pre-vegan era.  As an example of how someone can change their path in life drastically, I have made the decision to leave the posts up even though I am ashamed of them.  I hope you will take this example and think on it.  Also, see my animal activism page or travel page on ideas for ethical animal tourism and vegan food around the world.  My inbox is always open should you have questions about changing your lifestyle to better serve animals, our planet, and your own health.

Asia is home to some of the bizarre cultural delicacies known, especially to Westerners.  Unfortunately, we frown on what other cultures eat whether it be by their own choice or need.  Keeping an open mind when traveling is probably the best advice anyone can give.  Does that mean I’m going to like everything I try?  Of course not.  I’m sure there’s going to be some things that make me squirm, but at least I can say I truly traveled.  Here are some of the more well-known delicacies of Southeast Asia that I’m sure I’ll come across.  Whether I have the stomach is something that will be determined soon…

Balut

Balut is a Filipino delicacy which is fertilized duck egg which is boiled alive and then eaten out of the shell.  There is a specific way to eat Balut which involves cracking the shell a certain way, drinking the juice like a shot, and then eating the cute little baby duck straight out of the shell.  This is also served in other areas besides the Philippines.  I’ve read the taste isn’t all that bad, just the mental preparation.

Balut

Balut

Source

White Ant Egg Soup

White ant egg soup is a mixture of eggs, partial embryos and baby ants.  The eggs supposedly pop in your mouth, leaving a sour flavor behind.

White Ant Egg Soup

White Ant Egg Soup

Source

Fried Tarantula

The thought of eating Balut seems so easy when compared to eating a huge ass arachnid (for myself, at least).  Locals in Cambodia began frying and eating tarantulas during the reign of Khmer Rouge in the 1970’s to avoid starvation.  I’ve heard the legs aren’t so bad, but the body is gooey…ugh, I’m cringing at the thought of the gooey-ness.  I don’t do spiders.  I am not a girly girl…until I meet a spider.  I promised myself when I go, I will not turn down anything offered to me.  So, here’s to hoping no one offers me a fried tarantula to eat…

Fried Tarantula, Cambodia, Cultural Delicacies, Bizarre Foods

Fried Tarantula

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Scorpions

Eating scorpions on a stick are pretty popular in Thailand, Laos and Vietnam.  As usual, everyone says it tastes like chicken.  I’m starting to really doubt anyone as a human being who says something tastes like chicken.

Snake Wine

To prepare, hawkers slice open the snake along the underbelly and drain the blood into shots of rice wine which is grain alcohol.  Snake bile is also commonly extracted from the snake and poured into shots of rice wine to consume as well.  One lucky person gets to eat the still beating heart straight out of the snake too.  Yum!

Insects Galore

In places like Koh San Road in Bangkok, there is just about every imaginable bug and worm available to eat.  Some such as crickets don’t really bother me.  It’s the cockroaches I see myself having an issue with.  I can’t even step on one because of the crunch sound they make…so do you think I’m going to be able to handle chewing one??

insects

 Source

 Durian

Durian is known as the “king of fruits.”  It is known most importantly for it’s smell which is so terrible it is banned in some establishments, but I’ve read if you can get past the smell, that Durian tastes wonderful.

durian

Source

Have you tried any of these foods?  How were they?  Are there any I didn’t mention that I must try on my trip?

Traveler. Freelance Writer. Blogger. Vegan. Risk Taker. Voice for the Voiceless.

12 Comments

  1. Megan @ Mapping Megan

    November 11, 2013 at 4:54 PM

    You need a webcam right now to snap a picture of my face as I read through and saw some of these pictures! I like to think I’m adventurous but I don’t know if I’m adventurous enough to eat half of these! Will share this post tomorrow on my facebook page!!

    • Ashley Hubbard

      November 11, 2013 at 5:50 PM

      haha…so I read earlier while doing my research about someone who bit into one of the tarantulas and it was pregnant and baby spider eggs were going down her chin. i almost fainted. Thanks for reading it and sharing it! 🙂

  2. Heather

    November 12, 2013 at 2:28 AM

    I like to think of myself as adventurous, but I don’t think I could stomach these!

  3. Kara

    November 13, 2013 at 11:23 PM

    This is an awesome post Ashley! I would be fasting a super long time, however. My stomach is churning and extremely grossed out. Thanks for the education. If you eat a tarantula, I will have a heart attack!

  4. Shannon @ Beginnings in Bayern

    November 16, 2013 at 4:03 AM

    You are WAY braver than me! I was out after balut haha

    • Ashley Hubbard

      November 16, 2013 at 8:33 AM

      haha well soon I’ll find out if I’m all talk or if I can really do it. I hope I can (not because I really want to eat this stuff) but I like to say I’m up for anything 🙂

  5. Adelina

    November 19, 2013 at 3:38 PM

    I’ve been offered the opportunity to eat a tarantula when I was in Cambodia, but I opted to not. A friend said it tasted like hairy chicken. I shudder at the thought. I’ve had durian sort of – never in its fruit form, but in desserts. I don’t think I could stomach anything else on this list.

    Have you tried sticky tofu? Like durian once you get past the smell it’s okay. (I guess…)

    • Ashley Hubbard

      November 19, 2013 at 4:51 PM

      I’ve honestly heard the legs of the tarantula aren’t bag because, but it’s the body. Ugh, the body :/

      How did the Durian taste in desserts? I’ve heard the taste is really good which I guess is what makes the smell worth smelling haha…

      I have not tried sticky tofu…what’s the “sticky” part refer to??

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  7. Yana

    March 14, 2014 at 8:31 AM

    Ok, I lost my appetite!
    I think I would try and hold the tarantula for a picture but not eat it – I’m terribly afraid of anything bigger than a mosquito….
    I would try the duck embryo though!

    • Ashley Hubbard

      March 14, 2014 at 3:17 PM

      haha see I’d rather eat the tarantula than the horse…because I luuuurve horses. 🙂

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